Gary Ragsdale may be typical of the Alabama voters who cast a ballot in Tuesday’s runoff elections.
Ragsdale, pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church, wasn’t driven to the polls by the names on the ballot. He said he votes in every election.
“Everyone should do it, and I’m going to lead by example,” Ragsdale said.
Ragsdale was among a handful of voters who showed up at the Alexandria Civitan Club before the beginning of the working day Tuesday to vote in a grab-bag of Republican runoff elections. According to the Secretary of State’s office, 10.22 percent of registered voters in Calhoun County participated in the runoff election.
On the ballot were the GOP nominations for lieutenant governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and various judgeships, along with two Calhoun County Commission seats.
It was the kind of election that typically attracts only the most dutiful of voters. Secretary of State John Merrill last week predicted turnout of 15 to 18 percent. The runoff election saw 12.62 percent of registered voters participate statewide.
One voter, who gave his name only as Tim, said that he votes because it’s a right people had to fight for.
“A lot of people fought very hard so we could vote.”
Tim, who wore an EMS T-shirt, said he was most interested in voting in the lieutenant governor’s race, a contest between Public Service Commission president Twinkle Cavanaugh and state Rep. Will Ainsworth.
“I voted for Will Ainsworth because he supports David Bronner,” he said, referencing the chief executive of the Retirement Systems of Alabama. “I’m a member of the retirement system, and I don’t want a politician to cost me my retirement.”
Mark Brown, a farmer from Alexandria, said that he was motivated to vote by the District 4 County Commission runoff between incumbent J.D. Hess and challenger Terry Howell.
“I support J.D. Hess,” he said. “He’s got the experience. He’s the better candidate. People have been bashing him lately, but that’s how it goes.”
At the Norwood Hodges Community Center in Anniston, voters were more shy about their electoral preferences.
Elizabeth Prather, a manager at a local fitness club, wouldn’t reveal who she voted for, but she said the commission race was what motivated her vote the most.
“I think that helping the community is important,” Prather said about issues that matter to her. “I want to know that my tax dollars are allocated appropriately.”
Dave Dillman, another voter at the community center, said that he didn’t come out for a particular race.
“My theory is that if you don’t vote, you get what you voted for,” he said.